"Interim" is the Title for 8 of 19 Deans at UH Manoa

Robert Brown/Civil Beat

UPDATED 5/19/11 2:04 p.m.

At the University of Hawaii at Manoa, eight of its 19 deans are interim — temporary placeholders until permanent deans are hired.

University officials say the prevalence of interim deans is in part the byproduct of a failed plan to merge four schools under one dean. The search is on to fill one of those positions with a permanent hire.

But interviews with past interim deans and outside experts indicate that a dean's temporary status can sometimes hinder their ability to make staffing decisions and set longterm agendas. In one case, one interim dean at UH held his post for eight years.

“One school of thought is that it doesn’t make any difference (to have interim deans),” said Reed Dasenbrock, vice-chancellor of academic affairs for UH Manoa. “Another school of thought is that interim deans have less clout and ability to move their agenda forward."

UH Manoa Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw said that while the university does not have policies governing the length of interim appointments, officials are working to remedy the situation.

"Clearly, some interim appointments in the past have gone on for too long, which is why we are committed to reducing their numbers at UH Manoa,” Hinshaw wrote in an email.

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